SHANGHAI — Hideki Matsuyama arrived at the HSBC Champions as the first Japanese player in nearly two decades to reach the top 10 in the world ranking. His 19 birdies over 36 holes in biting chill and swirling wind helped explain how he got there.
Even as the weather shifted dramatically Friday at Sheshan International, Matsuyama kept piling up the birdies. One last birdie on the par-5 18th gave him 7-under 65 and a three-shot lead at 13-under 131 going into the weekend of the final World Golf Championships event of the year.
"He is playing very well," said Rory McIlroy (66), who was six shots behind. "And he'll be tough to catch."
In second were defending champion Russell Knox (68) and Bill Haas (67). First-round leader Rikard Karlberg shot 75 and fell to 5 under.
Matsuyama shot his eighth consecutive score in the 60s dating to the second round of the Tour Championship.
"I thought maybe just a couple under par would be a good score," Matsuyama said, "so I'm really happy with how it ended up (Friday). It was windy and cold. The ball, it's hard to control. It was tough out there."
Fifteen players managed to break 70 because of the rain-softened greens, and though Matsuyama's 65 was the best score of the second round, making it even more impressive was that he also had two bogeys. Thursday, he had 10 birdies against four bogeys.
PGA: Rookie Grayson Murray shot 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead in the Sanderson Farms Championship at 12-under 132 in Jackson, Miss. Greg Owen (67) and Seamus Power (69) were tied for second. First-round leader Kevin Streelman shot 73 to fall four strokes behind Murray.
Champions: Colin Montgomerie shot 7-under 65, closing with a birdie after nearly holing his approach on the par-4 18th, for a two-stroke lead in the first round of the PowerShares QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif. At 5 under were Fred Funk, Scott McCarron, Jim Carter, Joey Sindelar, Jerry Smith and Brandt Jobe. Bernhard Langer — who leads the tour with four victories and has wrapped up the season money title with $2,697,459 — withdrew without hitting a shot. He reaggravated a left knee injury at home in Florida exercising and wasn't able to play a practice round. Langer tops the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs standings and has a big enough advantage over second-place Miguel Angel Jimenez that he will keep the No. 1 spot without playing this week.
LPGA: South Korea's Amy Yang stretched her lead to three strokes in the hot, humid, stormy Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Yang, the first-round leader, shot 2-under 69 at TPC Kuala Lumpur for 10-under 132. Anna Nordqvist (68), Mi Jung Hur (65) and Candie Kung (65) were tied for second after the round that was delayed about two hours because of lightning — accompanied by periods of heavy rain — with the last group in the 16th fairway. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (69) was 5 under.